Razing Arizona: Migrant labour and the 'Mexican avenger' of Machete
Author: BRAYTON, SEAN
Source: International Journal of Media & Cultural Politics, Volume 7, Number 3, 20 December 2011 , pp. 275-292(18)
Abstract:This article focuses on representations of Latinas/os and labour in US cinema. It is particularly interested in Robert Rodriguez's Machete, a 'Mexican avenger' film that debuted less than three months after the passing of a controversial immigration bill in Arizona (Senate Bill 1070). Although many reviews snubbed the film's 'trivial' delivery of immigration politics, I argue that Machete's strength as a social commentary lies in its ability to borrow narrative traits from different genres. The political importance of the film emerges from a dialogue with ethnic exploitation cinema, Chicana/o 'labour films', racial parody and liberal multiculturalism in Hollywood as well as current debates concerning the racialization of citizenship and the exploitation of migrant workers in the United States. Machete's threat of a Latina/o uprising against conservative immigration reform is disguised as 'light' entertainment, providing an oblique critique of 'whiteness' not often found in 'serious' genres of Hollywood.
Document Type: Research Article
Affiliations: University of Lethbridge
Publication date: 20 December 2011
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